Category Archives: Buildings

Walpole’s Stores

General stores that was on the north side of Western Road, as it met Upper Green West and the Nag’s Head pub.

The name Walpole’s Stores can be seen twice on the front of the building and on its right hand side wall.

Walpole’s Stores

older view of the stores when in use

In the 1896 and 1901 directories, Walpole Brothers is listed at Upper Mitcham. In the 1904 street directory, George Walpole is listed as grocer, but not in the 1911 directory.

Referred to as The Broadway Stores by Eric Montague in the book Old Mitcham.

The newspaper articles below are via the British Newspaper Archive

News Articles

Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 09 June 1906

MITCHAM
RAILWAY FRAUD

— George Walpole, of Walpole Stores, The Broadway, Upper Mitcham was summoned by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company, at Tower Bridge Court, for railway fraud. He pleaded gullty.

— Mr. Austen, who represented the railway company, said that there was a special examination of tickets at London Bridge, and defendant tendered the fare from Queens-road Station, Peckham. After he had been questioned, he said to Mr. Sumner, the chief ticket inspector, ” I can see you are determined to find out. I joined the train at Mitcham Junction without a ticket, and on arriving here and seeing you were examining all tickets, I tendered the fare from Queens-road, thinking it would be all right.’

Defendant expressed sorrow, and was fined 20s. and 23s. costs.

From this news article, it would seem that the Western Road/Upper Green West was known as the Broadway, Upper Mitcham, whereas the Broadway, Lower Mitcham was that part of London Road south of the White Hart.

Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 10 March 1906

NO LIGHT.

George Walpole, of the Broadway, Upper Mitcham, was summoned for driving a cart without a light at London road on Feb. 16th.

— P.S. 26 W gave evidence, and defendant, who admitted the offence, was fined 2s. and 4s. 6d. costs.

Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 27 December 1902

WANTED (after Christmas) a strong, respectable GENERAL; age 20 to 25; clean and willing; knowledge of cooking required; good references. Apply, Mrs. Walpole, Broadway, Upper Mitcham.

Poplars School

Photo originally by Tom Francis. Clip from Merton Memories reference Mit_Schools_18-1

From pages 45 to 47 of Eric Montague’s book Mitcham Histories: 2 North Mitcham

The Poplars was Mitcham’s first workhouse, created in 1737 by the adaptation of what had until that time been a gentleman’s house. The building reverted to being a private residence around the time of the French Revolution, and in about 1825 it became the Poplars Boarding Academy for Young Gentlemen.

The social reformer Havelock Ellis attended the school, and wrote about it in his autobiography My Life; excerpts below are from the Archive.org website.

NOW that I was twelve years old my mother decided that I ought to be sent to a boarding school. It was to be a small private school, for she had heard too much evil of large public schools to care to send her only son to them. Moreover, our means were not sufficient for an expensive education. We lived, indeed, in ease and comfort, from a lower middle-class point of view, on my father’s earnings as sea-captain under more prosperous conditions than have always prevailed in the merchant service since, and on a small income of my mother’s, and until I left home I never knew what money worries meant — though I have often had occasion to know in the years that have followed — but as my parents always lived well within their means a lavish expenditure even on so important a matter as education was out of the question. My mother accordingly visited a school at Mitcham which, from what she had heard, seemed likely to furnish a desirable education at a moderate cost. The house was large and old — one of the numerous houses wherein Queen Elizabeth is said once to have slept — and my mother was of course shown over it with all due consideration. But the ill-ventilated schoolroom full of boys smelt so fusty and dirty that she conceived a dislike of the place and came away without making any arrangements.

On her way back to Tooting Station she had to pass another school, The Poplars – a curious old wooden house, long since pulled down, though the brick schoolroom yet stands — facing an open triangular space with a pond which we called Frogs’ Marsh. She entered, and was so pleased with everything here that she arranged at once with the headmaster to send me to him, although the terms were higher than she had proposed to pay. I was to be a weekly boarder, for my mother, though she never made any similar arrangements for her daughters, wished to preserve a home influence over her son and to direct his religious education.

My mother was pleased with the ways of The Poplars, but it is not possible to make any high claims for its educational methods. My headmaster, Mr. Albert Grover, was an oddity, a tall middle-aged man, looking much older than his years, with a long grey beard, a bald head, and a blind eye. He had some resemblance to Darwin, but he cherished much contempt for that great man’s doctrines, and even published a little anti- Darwinian pamphlet in doggerel verse which so nearly verged on the obscene that it could not be sold on railway bookstalls. Grover had a weakness for verse; he liked to teach facts and dates in doggerel, such as:

“Preston Pans and Fontenoy
Were fought in 1745, my boy.”

It would be easy to write amusingly of the life at The Poplars, but beneath its eccentricities it was essentially commonplace and old-fashioned, quite comfortable, certainly, and without hardship. So far as my headmaster was concerned, the influence of school upon me was neither good nor evil. He was a kindly man who always treated me well. I do not remember that he ever punished me or ever had cause to, but he inspired no love for any kind of learning, and I continued, as I had begun, without aptitude for formal studies.

I had long been interested in the old English dramatists. On my way to and from school at Mitcham I used often to buy one or another of the extensive series of old plays then being published by Dick in small type at a penny each; Marlowe as well, of course, as Shakespeare, I had long possessed and loved.

Mitcham Post Offices

Eric Montague said in his book Mitcham Histories : 12 Church Street and Whitford Lane, page 107, that Mitcham’s post office had occupied 5 locations, as listed below:

1st : at Westhall’s grocery shop in the Broadway

The 1855 directory shows the postal services available:

It lists Joseph WESTALL as grocer and cheesemonger as well as the post office receiving house in Lower Mitcham.

2nd : in a small shop near Mitcham Station

This photo from 1895 shows part of the words ‘Post Office’ above the shop.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Public_Services_18-2, copyright London Borough of Merton

3rd : a purpose built building in the Broadway

The words ‘Post Office’ can be seen etched in the windows on the building on the right in this photo of around 1910:

clip from Meton Memories, photo reference Mit_streets_Lon_38-25, copyright London Borough of Merton

According to Eric Montague in his book Mitcham Histories : 4 Lower Mitcham, pages 127-8, this post office was

erected in about 1900 … a three-storeyed building … its rather fussy facade including false timber framing to simulate an Elizabethan structure.”

4th : Post Office and Telephone Exchange building on the corner of London Road and Elmwood Road

Built around 1920, shown here in this 1953 photo:

clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_Streets_Lon_38-46, copyright London Borough of Merton

5th : Langdale Parade

In 1961 the post office moved to Langdale Parade in the Fair Green. The telephone exchange building remains.

Currently, in 2019, the Langdale Parade post office has moved to a smaller shop nearby at number 5:

Post Office at no. 5 Langdale Parade. Photo taken 23rd April 2019

Gorringe Park House

Clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_​Churches_​3-1, copyright London Borough of Merton

This photo shows the conservatory to the left, and the part of the curved drive leading to the entrance. Both of these features can be seen on this 1911 OS map:

1911 OS map

According to Eric Montague in his Mitcham Histories : 2 North Mitcham, page 91:

Built on the site of Biggin Farm, Gorringe Park House, was a substantial three-storied three-bay brick and slate roofed mansion in the modified version of the Italianate style which had become popular in the 1850s. The farmyard, complete with its piggeries, rickyard and barns, was retained, but the meadows and orchards in the immediate vicinity of the house were transformed to form gardens and parkland.

William John Harris, for whom the new house seems to have been built … in the 1871 census his occupation was listed as ‘Landed Proprietor’ and in the 1881 census stated his ‘Income From Land House Property’ … was related to the Moore family.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

189/191 London Road

189-191 London Road, Mitcham CR4 2JB, was built in 1962/3 in front of the Mitcham Baptist Church.

c.1987 clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_​8_​1-25 copyright London Borough of Merton

Previously there was open space in front of the church which is set back from the road, as shown in this 1951 OS map:

1952 OS map

Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Norwood News, 5th October 1962 via the British Newspaper Archive

Mitcham Preparatory School and Kindergarten

clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_Buildings_23-1, copyright London Borough of Merton.

This photo is of a pair of buildings north of, and adjacent to the Tom Francis London House stores, on London Road. The right hand one may be the Mitcham Preparatory School and Kindergarten. This OS map of 1910 shows London House on the west (left hand) side of the London Road, opposite Langdale Avenue (where the ’67’ is shown at the bottom of the map). A pair of buildings can be seen north of London House.

1910 OS map

Another clue is the entry in the 1911 street directory. This describes the buildings on the west side, going south from Tooting Junction station to the river Wandle. It lists no buildings after Upper Green until the Kindergarten and Primrose Cottage before getting to Thomas Francis, outfitter.

extract from the 1911 street directory

A further clue is what looks like a notice board near the entrance to the right-hand property.

Merton Memories also has a photo of the rear of this building.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

256 and 254 London Road

Building divided into two shops with flats above, on west side of London Road, opposite the White Lion of Mortimer pub (formerly the Bucks Head). Numbered from north to south, 254 is on the right and 256 on the left as viewed from the street. Before 1926/7 this part of London Road was called Mitcham High Street, and the numbers ran south to north.

256 on left and 254 on right, London Road, Mitcham. Photo taken August 2017.

This photo, before 1980 or so, showed two features on the top of the building:

This photo from 1895 shows that before this was built stood the drapery shop of Mrs Lack and Mr Cummings greengrocers, see directory listing below.

1895 clip of Merton Memories photo reference Mit_​Streets_​Lon_​38-14 copyright London Borough of Merton

Before being renumbered in 1926, this part of the London Road was called Mitcham High Street. From the 1891 directory (the shops were numbered from 1 going north):

1, Henry COLLBRAN, butcher
2, S.E. BURTON, stationer
3, Charles GOULD, The Kings’ Arms Public House
4, Mrs H. LACK, draper
5, John CUMMINGS, greengrocer
6, Joseph COOK, butcher
7, T.P. SHEPPARD, grocer
8, William BARTER, grocer
9, George Joseph DALE, news agent

— here is Sibthorpe Road

In the 1930 commercial directory, John CUMMINGS is still listed as greengrocer at number 254, hence 4 High Street became number 256.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.